4 Tips To Learning Piano – your choice of method [by Jackie Samuels]
If you’re aiming to learn to play piano here are a few things to consider. Learn with a professional piano teacher or take online lessons? Each choice has its advantages and disadvantages.
1. Learning with a teacher
If you choose to have taught lessons by a trained piano teacher as a beginner you will have the advantages of learning correct hand positions, regular progress reports, maintaining good practice habits, setting attainable goals, and working to your learning strengths. A piano teacher is able to point out easily missed mistakes and provide alternative interpretations of the music, and also suggest useful extended learning materials. You can discuss your areas of concern with your teacher. The cost of private piano tuition bears its fruit in the tutor’s accessibility, sharing his/her expertise, ability to model new and difficult passages, and acting as a good ‘sounding board’.
2. Using modern technology
You may prefer online learning using CDs, DVDs, youtube, or other e-learning resource. Recorded music allows you to progress at your own speed, without feeling pressurised by expected targets set by a teacher. By listening to recorded music you’ll be able to copy and adapt the style of playing to a point. You’ll also be able to correct and replay the section you are currently learning. While these are all methods that may fit in well with your programme, you may enhance your own progress, musicality and confidence by performing with a friend. Most importantly, choose the right method and online learning resource to suit your specific learning needs.
3. How to practice a new piece
Remember: ‘Practice makes perfect’. Initially play though a new piece. You may then need to break down the music into sections, practice the new material in small segments, slowly at first, gradually increasing tempo. If you find playing both hands at the same time too complicated, practice playing one hand first [melody], then the other hand [harmony/chords]. Finally, bring the whole piece together by playing both hands. This sectional learning style should increase your confidence, attainment, and sense of satisfaction in your achievement.
Whatever your learning method, regular practice is most beneficial, 20-30 minutes daily as a guide.
4. Boost your confidence
If you work well to set targets and expectations then your favoured learning style may be with a teacher. Either method will produce encouraging results as long as you are focused and faithful to adapt a regular routine of practice aimed at improving your piano playing skills. Don’t be frightened at the prospect of performing your pieces to a trusted audience, perhaps your friends or family. They will most likely be the best audience to give you positive feedback and a much needed confidence boost!
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